Skip Nav
Interview With Lively CEO Michelle Cordeiro Grant
F*cking Awesome Females
How This Mom's YOLO Moment Disrupted the $13 Billion Lingerie Industry
Pregnancy
Jaw-Dropping Then-and-Now Photos of the Twin Sisters Who Gave Birth 15 Minutes Apart
What Causes Autism
Little Kids
Dr. Harvey Karp Thinks He Knows What May Lead to Autism in Some Children

Backwards Math Homework Question

The Latest Math Homework Clusterf*ck Proves We're Trying to Screw Up Our Kids

It seems like every other day a parent shares a homework or exam question (usually math) that can stump even the smartest of adults, let alone grade schoolers, but this latest instance feels different. See, when I saw this particular question, which asks the child to subtract 32 from a mystery number to make 10, I immediately knew it should be a 42 written in the empty box, rather than the 22 this child wrote incorrectly. But that's only because I'm 27 and know that negative numbers exist — something this 7-year-old likely hasn't learned yet — so I still don't agree with it being marked wrong.

As the child has it, 22 take away 32 would have an answer of -10, but because the "10 =" was on the left side, and we read from left to right in most countries (this is from the UK, where yes, left to right is the norm), the child worked backwards because the problem appeared to be written backwards. Had it been "[empty box] - 32 = 10," I have no doubt in my mind that this kid would have filled in a 42.

Are we intentionally trying to screw kids up? I'm all for boosting logical and critical thinking, but let's allow our grade schoolers to succeed a bit while they're in the throes of learning how to read (from left to write!) and do basic math, shall we?

From Our Partners
Perks of Being Divorced
I Don't Enjoy Being a Mom All the Time
Essay About When Kids Are Nothing Like Their Parents
What Having Twins Is Really Like
How to Talk to Your Kids About Gun Violence
What It's Like When Your Husband Gets a Vasectomy
How Moms Can Balance It All
Books Kids Will Love
How to Encourage Your Daughter
Chores For Kids by Age
Reasons Your Kid Is a Brat
Best Birth Photos Ever Taken
From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds